NotABully.org is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.
As dog owners, we’ve probably all encountered this situation at one point or another. Our beloved pups are performing a big stretch, a yawn, perhaps some circles to try and get comfy, they go to snuggle down into their bed and all is calm…then suddenly, they leap up in a state of panic!
But is this sudden leap up a cause for concern, or is it nothing to worry about? Why do our dogs suddenly leap up when laying down?
Dogs may suddenly leap up when laying down because they have an injury or because they were bitten by an insect, or they may have laid down on something uncomfortable. If it occurred during a sleep cycle, they could be suffering from a sleep disorder or something in the environment could have scared them.
Below we’ll look at a few possible reasons as to why your pup may be suddenly leaping up while after they lay down, when it’s not usually a cause for concern, and when it may be time for a vet visit.
We’ll also discuss how you can help create a more relaxing sleep space for your dog to help reduce their anxiety and limit the sudden jumping up when they are trying to lay down and sleep.
7 Reasons Why Your Dog Suddenly Jumps Up While Laying Down
Dogs may suddenly jump up from laying down for all kinds of reasons, but if your pup suddenly jumps up it’s always worth it to check out the reason why. It could be for one of the following reasons, with some being more concerning than others…
1. Your Dog Has An Injury
If your dog doesn’t normally jump up after laying down, it may be likely that he has an injury if he suddenly jumps up as he’s laying down, or just after he lays down.
This is especially true if he’s yelping or crying as he’s jumping up, or if he’s repeatedly trying to lay down and keeps jumping up and is becoming increasingly agitated and frustrated that he cannot lay down.
Did your dog recently take a tumble from a height that’s higher than he normally jumps from? Or was he stepped on or run into by something larger than him, such as a larger dog or a child?
Dogs can sometimes “brush off” injuries in the moment (just like people) only to realize later on that those injuries actually hurt quite badly when they go to relax, or when they go to get into a certain position (usually curling up in a bed and putting weight on their backs, hips, or legs) and finding that the added pressure on certain body parts suddenly brings about sharp aches and pains, causing them to leap up.
Dogs who are developing arthritis or who have certain times of bone or skin cancers may also display these behaviors. Certain skin conditions or autoimmune disorders can also cause increased sensitivities to physical touch.
If you suspect your dog’s sudden leaping up from laying down is due to an injury or underlying illness, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible to have your pup checked out.
Once you’ve gotten your pup checked out by the vet, they may suggest an orthopedic bed with memory foam, gel, or some other supportive filling to help make your dog more comfortable during their sleep.
2. Your Pup Was Bitten By Something
As many pet owners know, spiders and insects LOVE hanging out in pet bedding. Whether it’s the dustiness, the nooks and crannies of furniture-style pet beds, or the fact that a lot of pet beds are kept in corners where a lot of creepy crawlies like to make their homes, bugs tend to come along with pet beds.
While the type of insect you find in your pet’s bed depends a lot on your location, climate, and how your house is built, I know that I frequently find house spiders in my dog’s beds because I live in the high desert and while it is very warm during the day, it gets quite cold at night so the spiders find their way into the house after the sun sets.
There’s been many a time where my dogs have gone to lay down on their beds, only to quickly jump up with a yelp because a spider has gotten there first! Thankfully these spiders are not venomous, so the bites do not cause any issue, but the bites can be painful for a bit.
There are a few species of spider, such as the Black Widow (Latrodectus mactans) or the Brown Recluse (Loxosceles reclusa), which may cause more serious damage if they bite your dog, and there are other creatures, such as scorpions and snakes, which could also cause your pup to suddenly jump up while laying down.
If you live in an area that’s prone to these types of guests, you might do a quick sweep of your pet’s bed before they settle down for the evening, especially as the weather starts turning cooler, or invest in products that are pet-safe and designed to keep these types of pests away.
3. There Is Something Uncomfortable Underneath Your Dog
There’s been many a time where my dog will go to lay down and then suddenly jump up, and lo and behold she forgot she had a toy underneath the blanket on her bed!
This is a pretty common reason for a dog to suddenly jump up when laying down, and thankfully one of the easiest ones to fix (and usually the dog fixes the issue themselves!).
Sometimes the cause is a little less obvious, such as a broken piece of furniture or a screw that’s come loose on a fancier dog bed. Some dogs like to “rearrange” beds (both theirs and ours), and this can sometimes cause things to get lodged underneath, so it’s a good idea to make sure there’s nothing harmful underneath the bed or blanket.
If your pup suddenly jumps up from their bed and you can’t immediately see the cause, it might be worth it to do a quick once over to make sure there’s nothing that’s causing a bit of physical discomfort and poking your pup.
4. Something Moved Underneath Your Dog
Dogs can be sensitive to movement and, just like people, if something were to suddenly move underneath them as they were laying down their first instinct might be to jump up.
This is a natural reaction and a good one at that, especially if the thing that moved underneath them posed a threat.
In most households the thing that moved underneath your pup is more than likely a sibling dog’s tail, a cat, your leg underneath the blanket on the couch, or even your pup’s own tail.
Once your dog realizes that the threat is only in their head, they’ll probably relax and settle back down.
5. Your Dog Is Stressed Out
Anxiety can express itself in physical form in your dog and can disrupt a dog’s sleep patterns. This can often be expressed as restlessness when attempting to settle down and sleep, and your dog may look like he is finally getting to sleep when he’ll suddenly jump up again and go back to pacing or wandering around.
True anxiety is rare in most dogs and can only be diagnosed with the assistance of a veterinarian, and sometimes needs medical intervention to help your dog relax.
A veterinary behaviorist and experienced dog trainer can also help create a plan of action to help your dog work through their anxiety and develop healthier behavioral patterns.
If your dog is displaying stress behaviors in addition to the sudden jumping up when they are laying down and if they struggle to relax on a regular basis rather than just during the occasional stressful situation (such as a thunderstorm or when guests are over), reach out to your veterinarian for suggestions on how you can help your pup.
If your dog is just mildly stressed out, such as what you may see during major life events like a move, a life change, or when guests are over, you may also see restlessness and jumping up behaviors when your dog attempts to lay down.
These stress behaviors are generally much milder and have a more sudden onset than true a true anxiety disorder but can be just as concerning for a pet parent.
Your veterinarian can help you determine what’s best for your individual dog, but I’ve also included some suggestions further down in this article that may help your pup relax a little more.
6. Your Dog Is Having A Nightmare
Just like their human counterparts, dogs do dream and there is growing evidence that they can also experience nightmares and night terrors. Most dog owners have witnessed our pups making those cute “woof woofs” in their sleep, perhaps accompanied by some brief “running” and paw movements.
But for some dogs, they can experience a scarier side effect of this intense dreaming and undergo a more physical reaction to the dreams and nightmares they are witnessing.
For dogs who are having a nightmare or an especially vivid dream, they may be dead asleep but suddenly jump up as a result of something occurring within their dream.
They may wake as soon as they jump up, or they may take a moment to regain their senses. A dog who suddenly jumps up in this manner should be left alone for a few moments until they have calmed down, as they may react differently than they normally would if you approach them.
7. Your Pup Might Have a Sleep Disorder
Dogs can experience a wide variety of sleep disorders, including narcolepsy, sleep apnea, insomnia, and REM disturbance disorders, among others. Some of the side effects of these disorders or some of the treatments for these disorders could cause a dog to suddenly jump up from laying down.
With sleep apnea, dogs tend to snore quite heavily and may struggle to breathe, and there is a risk the dog may stop breathing altogether. The dog may jump up suddenly if he suddenly struggles to catch his breath and, in a panic, he may jump up.
With insomnia, while rare in dogs, the dog may become restless and frustrated at not being able to sleep and thus may jump up suddenly and begin pacing around to try to ease his agitation. Insomnia is also more common senior dogs, and can be related to cognitive and overall health decline.
If you suspect your dog has an underlying sleep disorder, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to have your pup evaluated.
8. Something In The Environment Caught Their Interest
If your dog was sleeping quietly in their bed and then suddenly jumped up and appeared alert, then it’s likely something in their environment caught their interest, either by sight or sound.
A dog’s sense of hearing is much greater than that of a person’s, and they can also detect sounds at a much greater pitch than a person’s, too. As predators, they are much quicker at picking up slight movements or noticing things that are out of the ordinary.
There’s a reason that dogs are still so relied upon as guard dogs, even in today’s heavily modernized society!
So if you see that your pup has suddenly jumped up from their bed and they are intently focused on something, it might be worth investigating what they are tuned into, if only for peace of mind!
Why Did My Dog Suddenly Jump Up And Yelp?
If your dog is yelping when they suddenly jump up, and they yelp every time they jump up or the yelping and crying continues as they walk around, then it’s likely they have an injury somewhere. Your dog may also jump up and scream, for similar reasons.
While some dogs can definitely exaggerate the extensiveness of an injury (my own dogs are notorious for yelping and crying and limping around when I’ve accidentally stepped on their toes and suddenly all of that stops as soon as I bring the treat bag around), it’s always worth scheduling an appointment with your vet if any type of injury is suspected.
This is especially true if you have an older dog or a dog who has a history of injury or an underlying condition of any kind.
Breeds that tend to be more susceptible to certain bone and joint conditions, such as German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Golden Retrievers, or any of the other large breed dogs, should always be evaluated for any types of underlying issues if they begin to jump up and yelp while trying to lay down.
How Can I Help My Dog Relax More?
While it depends on the root cause as to why your pup is suddenly jumping up when laying down, there are a few things you can do to help your dog relax more in the hopes of reducing the jumping up.
Ensuring that your dog has a comfortable bed, mat, or cot in a private, quiet area is the first step. Just like people, dogs have their preferences as to why types of beds they might prefer, and you might have to do some trial-and-error before finding a bed that your dog likes best.
Depending on your region and your dog, a cooling mat or a self-warming mat might also be a good option. Dogs with health conditions like arthritis or senior pups may also benefit from orthopedic beds with memory foam or gel beds that provide more support.
Keeping your pup’s bed in a quiet part of your home where you can make sure it doesn’t get too hot or too cold (or that your pup has the option to move if they don’t like the current temperature) and that there’s no chance of any unwanted visitors getting in are other good ways to make sure your four-legged friend can get some uninterrupted rest.
You can also look into white noise machines or special streaming channels geared towards dogs to help them relax and block out external noises in the neighborhood. Special calming chews, pheromone plugins, sprays, or other calming products such as an anxiety shirt or heartbeat toy are also potentially useful ways to help relax an anxious dog and aid in relaxation and calming sleep.
In extreme cases, your veterinarian may also be able to prescribe medications that can help further calm your pup.
Making sure your dog is well-exercised and tired before bedtime will also help relax them and providing them with a puzzle toy or a food-stuffed toy an hour or two before bedtime is another good way to tire them out mentally.
While aromatherapy products like essential oils are good for people, they aren’t always the safest for use in pets (unless made especially for pets), so speak to your vet first before using these products.
While seeing your pup suddenly jumping up while they are trying to lay down and relax can sometimes be jarring, for the most part it’s usually nothing to worry about.
If it’s accompanied by yelping, it’s worth giving them a once over to check for any type of injury or bug bite, or to make sure there’s nothing in their bed that’s causing them any sort of discomfort.
If your pup is struggling with a sleep disorder, stress, or anxiety, you can work with your vet to help them relax and use our suggestions for a more relaxing sleep environment.
A well-rested pup is a happy pup!